When the stakes are high, it’s tempting to think that “If they’re not with us, they’re against us.”
Orwell said as much of pacifists during WWII, asserting that pacifism was “objectively” pro-fascist.
As it happens, fascist Mussolini said it as well: "O con noi o contro di noi."
More recently, George W. Bush argued much the same: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”
I get that neutrality, or having a different position from those of parties in conflict, is inconvenient for them. Persuading neutral parties to align with one side or the other can make all the difference.
The potential usefulness of presenting others with such ultimatums, however, doesn’t make false statements true.
And deciding that the ends justify the means is a most dangerous steppingstone on a very slippery path.
I do understand the temptation.
When the stakes are high, failure is unacceptable.
This doesn’t change the fact that the assertion that “Not Ally = Enemy” is simply not true.
I normally avoid political or philosophical subjects in my financial writing. I’m here to help people make money, not to push a political agenda.
I feel, however, that I must bring this up because the current sorry state of affairs has investment implications—potentially major implications—and more.
Besides, I keep getting angry messages from people who think that my criticisms of Trump mean I must be a Biden supporter. That’s not so, and I feel a need to set the record straight.
I get a lot more of the opposite accusation; I must be a MAGA-hat-wearing fanatic because I disagree with Biden. That’s curious to me, as I’m pretty sure that most of my audience leans Republican.
I’m a libertarian (the small “l” means I’m not a member of the Libertarian Party), by the way, not a Republican. I’ve never hidden that fact.
This is evidence of something I think is quite telling…
It’s important to understand that the new Left-Green mentality in Western countries sees itself as engaged in a life-or-death struggle.
It’s not just a few extremists in groups like Extinction Rebellion who believe that the fate of our entire species and every living thing on our planet is at stake. This view is widely accepted. Younger people are especially inclined to be sympathetic to it, whether or not they consciously embrace it.
If averting doomsday justifies almost any violence, theft, or other crime on the part of heroes in movies, what’s wrong with rioting?
Or beating up those who disagree?
Or embracing socialism to save us all?
It cuts the other way as well, of course. It seems to many on the Right that the Left is intent on destroying civilization, possibly sending us all back to the Stone Age at a cost of billions of lives.
If so, what action—even dishonest or criminal action—isn’t justified to avoid such a catastrophic outcome?
Given the high stakes perceived by both sides, it’s no surprise that events that start as peaceful marches or protests keep turning violent.
People who might have been hippies giving out flowers back in the 1960s are now willing to embrace violence on a personal level. And they feel righteous for doing so.
Their opposites are quite willing to fight back, of course.
I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a solution for this problem.
The US, at least, seems to me to be beyond the point of no return. Violent upheaval and change look unavoidable… and the Left-leaning mindset seems to be gaining ascendancy.
The investment implications of this are obvious: bearish for the USD and all fiat currencies, bullish for monetary metals and all real assets. Most of my readers already know this, but anyone who’s not clear on it can sign up for the Speculator’s Digest for more guidance—free of charge and junk mail.
I do want to add, however, that while I don’t pretend to have a solution for this problem, that doesn’t mean that people of goodwill should give up.
At the very least, we don’t have to be part of the problem by succumbing to, embracing, or espousing the fallacy that those who aren’t with us are against us.
Treating everyone we meet and all conversations we have as all-or-nothing situations makes dialogue impossible.
If those who differ on vital matters can’t talk, what choice do they have but to fight?
We’re right. They’re wrong. We can’t let them win!
I get it. But I also understand that those who disagree with me think and feel the same way.
If the situation deteriorates into an actual civil war, as my friend Doug Casey is predicting, that is in itself an enormously destructive outcome.
One more thing…
I am not advocating compromise.
In any compromise between good and evil, only evil has anything to gain.
I understand that as well.
It is, however, a mistake to define everyone who does not agree with us as evil.
And it’s flirting with unmitigated disaster to be so close-minded on either side that dialogue is impossible.
The objective of useful dialog is to discover truth, not to shut the other side down by any means necessary and at any cost.
I’m not forgetting that the stakes are indeed very high.
But if the good guys accept the idea that ends justify means, they become the bad guys.
What would be the point of defeating, say, the Nazis, if one had to become every bit as bad as the Nazis to do so?
If nothing else, we can refuse to make that mistake ourselves. And we can resist the temptation to brand anyone we disagree with as an enemy.
Let us all do our very best to be reasonable.
That’s my take,